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1940 Epiphone Triumph
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Serial #: 15393, Masterbilt label
Body size at lower bout: 17 1/4" Scale length: 25 1/2". Nut width: 1 11/16"
Finish: Sunburst finish, nitrocellulose lacquer type
Materials: Solid hand carved tiger flame maple back, solid maple sides; solid bookmatched hand carved spruce top; solid mahogany neck with 3-ply walnut/maple centerstripe; highly figured Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with mother of pearl diamond inlays; ornate early "snowflake" style mother-of-pearl peghead inlay, 3-ply top binding, bound fingerboard and headstock.
Hardware: Original hardware includes nickel open-back Grover Sta-Tite tuners and Frequensator tailpiece; original adjustable rosewood bridge base with newer compensated saddle. Vintage correct bound leopard tortoise pickguard.
Notes: 1940 was a very good year for the Epiphone Triumph. Every one we've found from that year (and there haven't been near enough) has had a particularly fine voice: dry, clear and wide open, with the sort of clarity and transparency that can't be bought new at any price. And did we mention loud as a piano? Flat amazing.
The body design is also a pleasing transition between the preceding decade and the one to follow. The peghead is the earliest version of the center-dip design, yet continues the graceful snowflake or fleur-de-lis inlay of the 30's. Slightly more compact than later models, this headstock is a short lived variant seen only on instruments produced during the early part of the year. The f-holes are slightly larger than those found on later models, and the body itself is more curvilinear than later versions.
One of the very last examples to bear the old Masterbilt label, this guitar shows handsome tiger flame in the solid carved maple back. At just 5lb 8oz, the instrument is wonderfully lightweight, and the dark tobacco sunburst is masterfully shot, lending the instrument a quiet elegance. The Adirondack spruce top is masterfully carved, and the tonewood is well aged, nicely played-in, and deeply resonant, with a voice as powerful as a passing train. The original sunburst finish shows virtually no buckle or thumbwear, and only light normal playwear on the soundboard. All binding is tight to the body, the Frequensator tailpiece is fully intact, and the action is smooth and low over fresh pro fretwork and a gentle C profile neck. The original finish on the sides has been touched up with a light dusting of vintage style nitrocellulose lacquer, and a gorgeous vintage correct leopard shell bound pickguard has been installed. A short lived classic, this guitar combines styling, tone, and playability in an unforgettable package.
Case: Original Epiphone hardshell case.